Each week, Destination Hudson will present a photograph of something in Hudson, along with an interesting fact about our town. Our hope is that you will enjoy the facts about your hometown, and if you don't know where the photograph was taken, you'll go find out. The answers will be printed in the Hudson Hub-Times, and posted on Destination Hudson's Facebook page and at the Visitor Center. The picture last week was the front of our "new" library. The Hudson Library & Historical Society moved to its spacious new quarters at 91 Library Street in 2005, more than quadrupling its space. And did you know - Hudson's first library (1801) consisted of the personal volumes of George Kilbourne, who brought 100 books (mostly dealing with morality and religion) when he moved to Hudson from Litchfield, Connecticut. The collection grew, and was housed in many different locations over the next 100 years.
In 1910, through the efforts of Caroline Baldwin-Babcock, the library was incorporated. Because of her book collection and her collection of artifacts, it became officially known as the Hudson Library & Historical Society. For the next 14 years, the Library occupied a room in the Hudson Club House (now WRA's Hayden Hall, on the corner of College and Aurora Streets). In 1910 James W. Ellsworth bought the old cheese warehouse at this location and created a club for everyone who lived in Hudson - proof of residency required. Along with the library, there was a two-lane bowling alley in the basement, club rooms for card playing and gathering, a billiards room and a kitchen. Dances were held on the weekends with music by a local orchestra.
When Caroline Baldwin-Babcock died in 1921, she left money in trust for the library, and a lecture series which continues to this day. Her former family home(now the Baldwin House, corner of E. Main and Aurora) was acquired and remodeled, and on New Year's Day, 1925, there was a grand opening celebration of the library's new home. The additions to the building between Aurora and Division streets (1954 and 1963) added much needed space and created the Aurora Street entrance (now the entrance to the Burton D. Morgan Foundation). The Hudson Library & Historical Society remained there for 80 years, with 10 head librarians, the longest-tenured being Tom Vince, who graciously supplied much of this historical information.